Monique Guzman is an artist, mother, designer, dancer, entrepreneur, producer, & performer. She believes that art should be in everything you do. Live passionately and intensely and this is a sentiment that we at House of Coco wholeheartedly agree with.
Her inspirations come from nature, the streets, being a dancer, travels, history, movies, all things vintage, music, cultures, color, emotion, comfort, fabrics, & pop culture. She wants to make every woman feel and remember how beautiful they are inside and out, not dwelling on imperfections but show off their beauty and feminine form.
Here. she tells us more about her passions, ambitions and future hopes for the brand…
When did you launch the brand and what was the reason behind it?
2007 I began making skirts in my bedroom. One style/design back then, only the Signature Siren Mermaid full length skirt, after living in Spain studying Flamenco in Madrid and Sevilla. I am a professional dancer as well. I needed extra cash, and there was nothing like these skirts where I lived. I wanted to choose the best fabrics and make only one of kind. Making each very special by giving them each names like a painting. A year after, I designed the label and Siren Skirts was born. In 2011, I had my website, online store, and a full on business with different style skirts. I now have pants, dresses, tops, accessories, and even design jewelry for my fashion shows.
Whats your background?
I had been a fashionista as long as I could remember. Designing and making my first top at 14. I thought patterns were restricting. I liked to draw then just start cutting. I designed clothes for my friends and me. As an adult, I was a stylist for many years, dressing men and women. I have always been an artist. Diving into painting, drawing, sculpture, cuisine, interior design, everything. My dancing is an art too. I have taken random art classes here and there. Mostly I am self-taught by virtue of passion and need. I did take some fashion classes in a community college, winning recognition for designing, leadership, and technique.
Just me… I am a one-woman show right now. My parents at times give me business advice. In addition, I am a member of our local chambers of commerce where I seek professional advice. When launching a new piece, I start with an idea/concept of theme which a plan a year in advance. I then find fabrics, then decide what cut to use, and if I want to add special couture details or not. Then I name it. Thereafter, I market it! If I have a series, I will plan and produce a photo shoot.
If you could start over with the business, would you do anything differently?
Nothing, except have more money.
What is the hardest challenge you have faced since you started the company?
MONEY! Not enough of it. Fashion Industry is tough, and to be successful you have to endure the test of time, and market like crazy, and that takes money, lots and lots of money. Whatever you think you need, then times it by 100.
Ooh a secret? How scandalous. I have many, that’s why they are secret ☺
Which should I divulge? I’ll keep it G rated. I do orienteering races. That is participants go into wilderness, and one has to find counters using a map and compass in allotted time frame. Yeah I like nature.
2015 is upon us, where do you plan to take the brand?
Sell everywhere! Everyone will know about Siren Skirts.
To date, what has been the highlight since launching?
NYFW 2013 and showing in London 2013 those two were extremely exciting. Being invited to present my line in Malaysia, India, Dubai, London, NYC, and all over US. But its bitter sweet because I don’t have the funds to get there. Most would die, no kill to be invited. I get so many invitations but I cannot afford to get there. So exciting yes, but sad too. Lastly, selling to women in Argentina, Spain, Germany, Jordan, Egypt, Mexico, Canada, and Ireland…. When I can say I have clients all over the world. That would be nice.
What inspires each collection?
Oh! I’m crazy. I get inspired all the time. I have so many ideas; I won’t have enough time in this lifetime. Its endless, my imagination. I close my eyes, and it there it is. Nature too is a big influence. People are good too, in person or on internet also inspire me. I get inspired by music videos, cultures, dance, literature, movies, everything. There is art in everything if done with passion. Or its not worth doing.
Where can people find out more?